Olives – Properties and medicinal uses

Botanical name: Olea europaea L.
Olive is the fruit of the olive tree, Olea europaea L., of the botanical family Oleaceae. Olives are either green or black in color, this variation in color is due to the olives being plucked off its parent tree either ripe or unripe. Black olives are harvested when the fruits are ripe, while the green olives are harvested at the beginning of the fall.


Properties of Olive oil

Below are the properties of olive:

● Olives contain high amounts of proteins, it is said to be higher than most fruits. The interesting fact about olive proteins is that it contains all the essential amino acids the body needs. This is usually not the case with many fruits, as some may have to be combined with other foods such as grains to complete their proteins.

● Fats are present in olives in high amounts also, this in turn means more calories to the body.

● Olives contain significant amounts of vitamins which adds to its medicinal values. These includes provitamin A, vitamin B and E.

● Minerals are not left out in olives, as they contain significant amounts of potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Another mineral present in olive and by far the most abundant is calcium. At times, olives use to have a high level of sodium, this is due to the salt added during its soaking.

● Olives are rich in anthocyanins (a vegetable pigment) and some volatile substances which are found in its skin. Its pulp is also rich in vegetable fiber and some fatty substances known as triglycerides.

Health benefits / medicinal uses of olive

The medicinal uses of olives are quite numerous, below are some of its medicinal indications:

Gallbladder disorders – Olives are known to heal a number of gallbladder disorders. Its consumption helps in emptying the gallbladder. They are very useful in cases of indigestion caused by disturbances in emptying the gallbladder (biliary dyspepsia), and in any disorder that interferes with the emptying of the gallbladder. Thus, their regular consumption is highly recommended in such cases.

Lack of appetite – Olives are an excellent aperitif. Their consumption helps increase the flow of gastric juice, and in turn improves digestion. For those having lack of appetite, they can try eating two-three olives just before a meal, as it will help stimulate their digestive process and appetite in general.

● Constipation – Olives are highly recommended in cases of constipation (in frequent passing out of stools). This is due to the presence of abundant amounts of fiber which in turn gives them their effective laxative effect.
A fact to note here is that olives are among the richest fruits in fiber. Thus, can be included in a fiber diet treatment provided its inclusion has no side effects.

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By Abbati

Abbati studied Biological sciences at Ahmadu Bello Univeristy, Zaria. He loves learning about the medicinal properties of foods, and the need to explore them!

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